Located on the west coast of Florida, Tampa is the third largest city in Florida with 333,040 residents. The city is a part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area that is most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay area. This four-county area has 2.7 million residents. Consequently, it is the second largest metropolitan statistical area in Florida.
This large metropolitan area provides many opportunities for people like Leslie to pursue educational, career, and personal goals. It is a place that places great importance on providing the services and resources that families and individuals need to live good lives. As described in its vision statement, Tampa strives to “be recognized as a diverse, progressive city” and “celebrated as the most desirable place to live, learn, work, and play.”
Leslie was able to find a job located in Tampa that would enable her to attend school full-time while making enough money to support herself. Therefore, she was looking at several colleges and universities in Tampa and the surrounding areas such as Florida Metropolitan University, Hillsborough Community College, Southwest Florida College, Strayer University, Troy University, the University of South Florida, and the University of Tampa.
Leslie had now been living in Tampa for several months, and she was pleased with her progress at work and in finding the best college to attend; however, she was beginning to feel very lonely, as she had only met people at work. She knew that there were many cultural, recreational, and social events that were fun, interesting, and would create opportunities for her to meet other singles. Therefore, she began to explore more of the city and visited such attractions as the Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, the Tampa Theatre, and the Museum of Science and Industry. She also joined a neighborhood book discussion group and started to take part in several Tampa singles events including the following:
•Brandon Singles Group – This nonprofit organization provides many social events and activities for singles ages 35 – 59 who live in the Brandon and Tampa areas.
•8-minute Dating – This dating event offers 8 first dates in one evening. Each date lasts for 8 minutes, and after each date the couple decides if they would like to meet again.
•Pre-Dating – This dating event makes it possible for about 12 singles who are in the same age range and share similar interests to meet for five minutes to determine if they are interested in going out on a date. The pre-dates take place at local clubs, cafés, or restaurants.
Leslie knew that building a new, more rewarding life in Tampa would take time and effort, but she felt like she was off to a good start and was enjoying her new life.